Bell Flourishes, Cessna Stumbles at Textron

 - April 30, 2009, 12:06 PM

Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent Textron yesterday reported that first-quarter revenues dropped year-over-year by 24 percent to $2.5 billion, while after-tax profits fell steeply to $86 million from $231 million in the same period last year. At Cessna year-over-year revenues decreased $477 million to $769 million in the quarter, mainly due to the delivery of 69 Citations versus 95 in the first quarter of last year. First-term pre-tax profits at Cessna were more than halved from $207 million last year to $90 million this year, though this latter figure includes a $50 million gain on the sale of customer maintenance tracking service Cescom. Backlog at the end of the first quarter was $13 billion, down $1.5 billion from the end of last year, reflecting 92 net cancellations during the quarter. As a result of deteriorating conditions, Cessna is once again curtailing Citation production rates this year, with the current estimate set at 290 to 300, down from a January adjusted 325 and far less than the 525 annual rate announced last year. Textron also announced that Cessna is suspending its large-cabin Citation Columbus program, closing its Bend, Ore. plant and laying off 2,300 more workers. Meanwhile, Bell reported higher year-over-year first-quarter revenues of $742 million versus $574 million last year, as well as increased pre-tax profits of $69 million, up $16 million from last year.